the seizure of vessels at city Point — rejoicing in Petersburg
— military Preparations,&c.
[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Petersburg, April 18, 1861.
The events of the day have been such as to render me almost unable to decide where to begin an enumeration of them.
The excitement has certainly reached its climax, and events of the most extraordinary character would now be received with nothing more than comment.
The prime cause, however, of the tremendous display of feeling to-day, was the seizure of the three vessels at City Point
The originators of the plan to take possession of these vessels were certainly very ingenious, as well in the conception as in the management and execution of it. It was done almost secretly, I may say, for very few persons here had any idea of such a thing; and when the news of the success of the enterprise reached the city, the majority of our citizens were completely astounded.
A company of twelve or fifteen men, commanded by Col. E. L. Brockett
, assisted by about an equal number from Richmond
, headed by Capt. Albert Akin
, of Henrico county
, were all that participated.
The first-class ship Argo,
from Bath, Maine
, was the first one taken.
She is a large vessel, being of 1,080 tons burthen, and will undoubtedly render good service, with an outlay of a small sum of money.
No resistance was offered, though the officers thought it a little hard that they should so suddenly be deprived of their command, and consequently of their means of support.
Part of her crew, consisting of eighteen negroes, from different portions of the North
, were put under arrest, and brought to this city and lodged in jail — What disposition will be made of them I am not able to say, but I presume they will not be harmed, as Col. Brockett
pledged his word that they should not be troubled.
They will be brought before the Mayor
to-morrow morning, and of course I shall keep you advised about them.
A U. S. surveying vessel was next boarded and seized, and a sufficient force left upon her, as well as on the Argo
, to protect and hold them.
The seizure of the Jamestown
was accidental altogether, she happening to reach the wharf before the Petersburg
train left, which would have brought all but the force necessary to guard the captured vessels, to this city.
created general admiration as she proudly neared the landing, with her flags floating gaily to the breeze.
Nothing was said or done until she was firmly fastened to her moorings, when Col. Brockett
politely informed Capt. Skinner
of his intention to detain and take possession of her also.
Objection was made by the gentlemanly Captain
, and a threat was made that he should clear away and proceed immediately back to New York.
But, by this time, he found his ship being fastened by other hands than his own, and seeing it was to no purpose to longer object, he reluctantly yielded, and Col. B. assumed the command.
Arrangements were then made for the steamer to proceed on her regular route to Richmond
, where I resign her further disposal to you.
Flags have been floating from many residences and public buildings to-day.
A party ascended to the top of the new Post-Office and flung a large and beautiful Southern flag to the breeze, in the presence of an immense assemblage of persons, who, already wild with excitement, cheered and hurrahs till their throats were hoarse.
Our City Council sat with closed doors this afternoon, which action has caused a good deal of surmise and conjecture.
Nothing in regard to their proceedings has as yet been divulged.
It is generally supposed, however, that the members are engaged in discussing the propriety of arming the city, and otherwise preparing for her defence.
I heard a rumor, to the effect that an appropriation of $25 000 or $30,000 would be made for such purpose.
The Nottoway Rifle Guards, Capt. Owen
, arrived here in the 1 o'clock South-Side
This company had not been ordered to Norfolk
, but merely came down to offer their services; it numbers 46 fine-looking, determined men, who seemed much disappointed on finding they should have to return home.
They will go back to-morrow.
The two companies from that county ordered to proceed to Norfolk
to-day, did not receive orders in time to assemble and come down.
The Petersburg Riflemen were to-day ordered to proceed to City Point
, to take charge of the vessels held there.
Four rifled cannon passed through here from Richmond
this morning, en route